Wolf Administration Amends Guidelines for Indoor and Outdoor Gathering Limits
October 06, 2020 12:25 PM
by Ben Jones
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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's administration announced on Tuesday an amendment to ongoing indoor and outdoor gathering guidelines that greatly increases the number of attendees allowed at such events.

"Pennsylvanians must continue to social distance and wear masks as we prepare to fight the virus through the fall and winter,” Wolf said in a statement. “Regardless of the size of an event or gathering, those things are still imperative to stopping the spread of COVID. We know everyone has sacrificed in many ways and today’s announcement reflects a gradual adjustment to our lives as we learn how we can do things safely until we have a cure, or an effective vaccine is widely available."

The change, which begins Oct. 9, dictates that the venue's maximum occupancy will subsequently dictate the allowable occupancy under new guidelines using the state's formula.

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events: 

Maximum Occupancy 
Allowable Indoor Rate  
0-2,000 people 
20% of Maximum Occupancy 
2,001 - 10,000 people 
15% of Maximum Occupancy 
Over 10,000 people 
10% of Maximum Occupancy up to 3,750 people 

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events: 

Maximum Occupancy 
Allowable Outdoor Rate  
0-2,000 people 
25% of Maximum Occupancy 
2,001 - 10,000 people  
20% of Maximum Occupancy 
Over 10,000 people 
15% of Maximum Occupancy up to 7,500 people 

Previously the state had allowed just 250 people at outdoor events, a figure that included players and game personnel for sporting events, while indoor events were restricted to just 25 people. In either case social distancing guidelines and masking were required to be in place.

Locally this will likely bring about little change for the average fan hoping to see Penn State kick off its delayed season in person later this month. The Big Ten announced as a conference that it will not allow fans to attend football games with the exception of plans in place for families. The league has not publicly announced those plans for family attendance and prior to Tuesday's announcement it remained unclear if Penn State would have been able to allow families to attend under the state's now former health and safety guidelines.

“We are pleased to be able to accommodate those closest to our football program and enable them to cheer on their family members. The Big Ten’s guidelines of families only will not permit us to welcome additional fans to Beaver Stadium in 2020,” a Penn State spokesperson said in a statement.

Generally speaking most major indoor and outdoor events away from sports throughout the region have been postponed or canceled. It is unknown at this time if modifications to health and safety guidelines would allow for previously canceled or postponed events to reconsider their plans.

Additionally, Wolf's changes also stated that; "Any gathering restrictions established by local authorities, such as the ones established in Philadelphia and State College, remain in effect."

State College's temporary COVID-19 ordinance limits, with some exceptions, residential gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at municipal properties and parks to 25 people. The local ordinance gathering limits do not apply to commercial properties, private businesses or educational and religious institutions.

State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-34, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-25, called the move a good step, but maintained that such decisions should still be left to local communities.

“We appreciate that the Governor is moving in the right direction when it comes to allowing more people at events such as sports, weddings, funerals and other large gatherings," a statement from Corman and Scarnati said. “We maintain that these decisions should be entrusted to schools and communities who are best positioned to protect their students and neighbors. The Governor vetoed legislation that would have achieved that. During these challenging times Pennsylvanians need clarity and local decision-making power – not more confusion and ever-changing mandates dictated by the Governor’s Office."

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